The research process to determine which supplements are best to take while pregnant and breastfeeding can be overwhelming. I am expecting baby number two this winter and I have once again entered the realm of mom guilt: Am I doing enough nutritionally for this baby? Which supplements are the most important to take? Which brands are the best?
I am, however, feeling more informed in this second pregnancy—after two rounds of research and with my job at Mindful Pediatrics! For this reason, I would like to make a few recommendations based on what I’ve learned. In this post, I am going to address probiotics and their application in pregnancy and nursing.
My goal is to get this information to other moms, allowing you to devote the precious commodity of time to your family and self-care—instead of spending hours reading and researching!
What are probiotics & should I take them?
The word probiotic comes from the words “pro” meaning “promoting” and “biotic” meaning “life”. In short, probiotics help replenish our bodies with good bacteria.
Did you know that a large portion of our immune system is located in our digestive tract? We actually have many more bacteria in our bodies than we do cells, so we want to make sure this bacterial environment is as healthy as possible.
Probiotics have been shown to support optimal health by inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria and increasing our resistance to various infections.
Many patients ask whether it is important to take a probiotic daily, particularly if a family focuses on regularly eating fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, sourdough and kombucha. Generally, my answer is yes! Today I will provide two specific probiotic recommendations and their benefits for moms and babies.
1. Ther-biotic Women’s Formula
This probiotic contains multiple strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium that specifically support a woman’s vaginal and urinary systems. Strains of bacteria such as L. brevis, L. salivarius, B. bifidum and B. longum can become quite altered during pregnancy and the post-natal period, if not adequately supported.
This probiotic contains these particular strains, which are not often included in standard probiotic formulations, in a form that ensures the bacteria passes through the stomach acid unaltered and is delivered to the small intestine, vaginal and urinary tissues where they are needed most.
Benefits for Mom
- Balances the pH of the gut, vagina, urinary tract, and breast tissue to both protect from harmful bacterial overgrowth and restore it when out of balance
- Maintains bacteria and yeast balance, to prevent harmful overgrowth that could lead to pre-term labor risk or harm baby during a vaginal birth
- Creates antimicrobial compounds to protect from harmful bacterial overgrowth in vaginal, urinary or breast tissue
- Supports the immune fighting cells that line the gut, vagina and urinary tract
- “Feeds” the healthy bacteria population that already exists by offering a prebiotic carbohydrate substance
Benefits for Baby
- During a vaginal birth, healthy bacteria from the mother’s birth canal helps colonize the baby’s gut as he or she passes through
- Prevention of eczema and allergy development later in life
- Decrease risk of upper respiratory illnesses in first years of life
- Decrease severity of colic symptoms in infants
Take 1 capsule of Ther-biotic Women’s Formula daily with food.
2. Target b2 Probiotic
This second formula is a new probiotic available for breastfeeding moms and their infants. Target b2 contains a specific strain of Lactobacillus Fermentum (CECT5716) that has been shown to favorably alter the balance of bacteria in breastmilk and breast tissue after just three weeks of supplementation.
As many as one third of nursing mothers experience significant discomfort that causes them to stop breastfeeding early. Studies have shown that Lactobacillus Fermentum, a lactic acid bacteria isolated from human milk, may prevent and resolve lactation-associated mammary dysbiosis (mastitis).
Benefits for Mom
- A decrease in occurrence of mastitis
- An increased resolution rate of mastitis without antibiotics
- A decreased reoccurrence of mastitis and associated symptoms such as breast tenderness or pain, blocked milk ducts, fever, and body aches
Benefits for Baby
- Likelihood that a mother will be able to breastfeed longer throughout the first year of life, extending an infant’s time to receive healthy flora from mom, as well as social- emotional and immune system benefits
- Further increased diversity into the infant’s microbiome, promoting the health benefits mentioned previously
- A mother who enjoys breastfeeding without pain or significant interruption in physical health will be better able to care for and bond with her young infant
It is recommended to start supplementation with one capsule of Target b2 in the third trimester of pregnancy and continue while nursing. During an active case of mammary dysbiosis, three capsules is recommended. This product is designed to be taken by adults, not infants.
Mama’s Probiotic Pair
These two probiotics taken together provide optimal support for a breastfeeding mom to pass on the healthiest possible bacterial flora to her child.
I hope this article provides the bulk of the research necessary for you to make an informed decision about probiotics. Throughout the post, I have also provided the references to many of the studies I cited. I hope my research saves you time so that you can enjoy those precious moments of peace and quiet, sipping a cup of tea or taking a walk, while your baby or toddler naps!
You can use this link below if you would like to purchase one or both supplements through our online store.
I wish you and your infant great health!